After reading the entire text of the "confidential memo" written by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., in 1971, and addressed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I was left with a sense of awe at the power of simple ideas presented in a clear and concise manner.
For his "confidential memorandum," "Attack on American Free Enterprise System," can be seen as the intellectual basis upon which much of the current U.S. Neo-Fascist Corporatocracy is based.
Historian Kim Phillips-Fein describes how “many who read the memo cited it afterward as inspiration for their political choices.” In fact, Powell’s Memo is widely credited for having helped catalyze a new business activist movement, with numerous conservative family and corporate foundations (e.g. Coors, Olin, Bradley, Scaife, Koch and others) thereafter creating and sustaining powerful new voices to help push the corporate agenda, including the Business Roundtable (1972), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC - 1973), Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1977), the Manhattan Institute (1978), Citizens for a Sound Economy (1984 - now Americans for Prosperity), Accuracy in Academe (1985), and others.
Of course, among the Nouveau Fascist within the current American Corporatocracy, there are other influences, including the writings of Leo Strauss (the populace can't be trusted with self-rule), Ayn Rand (glorification and justification of unquenchable greed), philosophies like Social Darwinism, and Eugenics, and the cultural legacy of Puritanism and puritanical thought.
But this memo, although intellectually bankrupt (in it's dishonesty), is nevertheless very powerful since it not only helped in somehow validating a sense of "victim-hood" and of being under siege, in the minds of top corporate and business leaders, but it provided them with a how-to guide for the eventual corporatist takeover of the country.
It's a rare glimpse at the mindset of the tyrant, and it helps explains why no matter the suffering of the population, pushed down by an increasingly exploitative and brutal system, tyranny can't never be removed nicely, through reasoned argumentation, or appeals to decency and compassion.
For they (the unimaginably rich and powerful ruling elite) somehow see themselves as benefactors, as moral and ethical, and as indispensable, and they see those who would challenge their hegemony as dangerous, or radical, or threats to "freedom."
But yes, there are lessons to be learned from this memo, especially if one looks at its impact... And these lessons are actually based on immutable truisms:
Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.
Part of my "intellectual pursuit" is in trying to understand why there so many on the Left that reject that notion.
My take so far is because people on the Left focus "too much" on the effects of injustices, instead of on the most important issue of acquiring the power necessary to bring about a just society.
At that higher level of "power struggles" what counts is being able to impose your world view: A constitutional democracy based on the rule of law, and on the prevention of dangerous accumulation of wealth and power.
When that is your world view, and the other side's world view is based on the establishment of a Neo-fascist Corporatocracy, like we have now, the struggle is an existential struggle, and it necessitates a very calculative, careful, thoughtful approach that includes strategic thinking (short-, mid-, long-term), discipline, and coordinated action.
Yes, Justice's Powell memo is intellectually dishonest, but it nevertheless provides a how-to guide to acquiring power. The problem here is that the wrong side got to read it (and implemented it's ideas) first.